Nystagmus in the B6(CG)Tyr(c-2J)/J Albino Mouse: A Functional and RNA-Seq Analysis

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2024 Jan 2;65(1):26. doi: 10.1167/iovs.65.1.26.


PURPOSE: Infantile nystagmus syndrome (INS) is a gaze-holding disorder characterized by conjugate, uncontrolled eye oscillations that can result in significant visual acuity loss. INS is often associated with albinism, but the mechanism is unclear. Albino mice have nystagmus; however, a pigmented mouse with a tyr mutation making it phenotypically albino, the B6(CG)-Tyr(c-2J)/J (B6 albino), had not been tested. We tested optokinetic response (OKR) in B6 albino and control mice. RNA-Seq was performed on extraocular muscles (EOM), tibialis anterior (TA) muscle, abducens (CN6), and oculomotor (CN3) neurons to uncover molecular differences that may contribute to nystagmus.

METHODS: OKR was measured using an ISCAN system. RNA was isolated from four tissues to identify differentially expressed genes and validated with qPCR and immunohistochemistry. Ingenuity pathway analyses identified top biological pathways.

RESULTS: All B6 albino mice tested had nystagmus. Differential RNA expression analysis showed 383 genes differentially expressed in EOM, 70 in CN3, 20 in CN6, and 639 in the TA. Two genes were differentially expressed in all four tissues: wdfy1 and nnt. Differences were validated by qPCR and immunostaining.

CONCLUSIONS: The tyr mutation in B6 albino mice, genotypically pigmented and phenotypically albino, is sufficient to result in spontaneous nystagmus. The two genes with decreased expression in the B6 albino tissues examined, wdfy1 and nnt, have been implicated in mitochondrial dysfunction and stem cell maintenance in other systems. Their function in extraocular muscle is unknown. These studies suggest that this mouse model of nystagmus may allow molecular identification of candidate nystagmus-related genes.

PMID:38206276 | DOI:10.1167/iovs.65.1.26